Wave and Tidal

Recent UK policy papers suggest that, conservatively, the wave and tidal sectors could reach a combined value of around £4 billion by 2050, with 10,000 direct UK jobs by 2020 and up to 68,000 by 2050. While the technologies of wave and tidal power are less well developed than wind, the UK has some of the world’s best resources in marine energy and it is universally recognised as the global innovation leader in the design and testing of generation devices.

The first utility scale devices are currently being tested and deployed in sea trials in UK waters. The existence of leading technologies, combined with government support in the form of grants and enhanced revenue support mechanisms, has attracted the entry of major engineering companies to this field in the UK.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult expects to play a significant role in bringing new technologies to bear in wave and tidal power generation. We also look to encourage and support array-stage testing by working with, and building on, the experiences and capabilities of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a full-scale open water test centre for marine energy prototypes in Orkney and Wavehub, an offshore electrical grid connection point off the North Cornwall coast.

The installed capacity of UK offshore wind is set to multiply around 4–6 times by 2020 alone. This exponential growth of market size presents a world-leading opportunity to create and capture value not seen in the energy sector for many decades. Future individual offshore wind farms will be many times the size of onshore wind farms, and present opportunities for design, manufacture and deployment not imagined in the industry when the UK began its renewables programme in the early part of the last decade. With the balance of plant (i.e. that other than turbines) amounting to some 50% of a project’s capital value, the UK has an immediate supply chain and innovation stream ability to make a significant contribution in the market place.

Encouragingly, many turbine manufacturers are showing strong interest in locating in the UK, as a result of the market opportunity and relative stability of political and regulatory frameworks. In addition, offshore wind projects are designed with lifetimes of at least 25 years, creating tremendous opportunity for operations, service and maintenance activities to be provided from UK shores.

There are barriers to growth and innovation, and reducing costs is essential if the industry is to achieve its maximum growth potential.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult exists to address these challenges by applying its deep technical understanding from in-house expertise and the provision of interconnected services across industry, academia and the public sector to promote innovation opportunities. Wave and Tidal Recent UK policy papers suggest that, conservatively, the wave and tidal sectors could reach a combined value of around £4 billion by 2050, with 10,000 direct UK jobs by 2020 and up to 68,000 by 2050. While the technologies of wave and tidal power are less well developed than wind, the UK has some of the world’s best resources in marine energy and it is universally recognised as the global innovation leader in the design and testing of generation devices.

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